The business case for hiring young adults

Hiring young adults can help to create a better-trained, more experienced candidate pool

Workforce on Waterfront
Julia Maglione
JULIA MAGLIONE Workforce Southwest Washington

Nearly seven baby boomers turn 65 every minute. A fifth of our region’s workforce is over the age of 55 and could retire within the next decade, potentially creating labor shortages when companies are struggling to find skilled workers.

And yet, the summer jobs where prior generations got their first experience of what it meant to go to work have all but disappeared. Youth are not getting work experience to prepare them for work.

Benefits to business

Companies have much to gain by hiring young adults, including helping to create a better-trained, more experienced candidate pool.

If you have employees retiring in the next few years and you’re concerned about having a pool of skilled candidates to replace them, consider hiring young adults now for summer or part-time jobs or internships.

Your business could benefit in a number of ways:

  1. Professional development of your staff. Working with young people is an opportunity for your employees to develop their management, leadership and communication skills. A mix of generations provides greater insight into the world outside of the office and may better equip your employees to deal positively with each other and customers.
  2. Recruitment. Hiring the wrong person is costly. Part-time or summer employment lets you meet potential candidates, see their abilities and train them to your specifications and standards, minimizing the chance of making an expensive hiring mistake.
  3. Engaging an important demographic. Workforce Southwest Washington sponsored focus groups in 2017. One of the most surprising things we learned was young adults in our region lacked awareness of local companies and job prospects in their county. Your company’s participation in a youth employment program increases awareness of your company with this potential customer base and talent pool.
  4. Gain fresh perspectives on your business and work environment. Young employees can bring innovative and novel ways of thinking to your business. By applying their classroom skills to your work environment, they could make your processes more efficient.
  5. “Feel good” factor. While it may not be the driving force in your decision to hire youth, don’t overlook the benefits of the “feel good factor.” Employee engagement could increase when they feel they’ve made a real impact helping a young person grow and succeed. The passion and enthusiasm of young workers could inspire employees to remember what drew them to their job and to your organization.

Get involved

Hiring a young person for a summer job provides your company with a unique opportunity to invest in your future workforce.

Earlier this year, Workforce Southwest Washington launched SummerWorks to connect businesses to young adults for 90-hour paid summer jobs.

SummerWorks handles payroll and covers wages, insurance and taxes.

In addition, the program provides:

  • Qualified, prepared and motivated talent ages 16-21
  • Talent that is pre-screened for fit with your company and ready to start work
  • Young adults to assist with a diverse array of general tasks or project-based assignments

Sharing your knowledge and expertise to help a young person learn the skills necessary to get and keep a job will not only benefit our young adults, but your businesses and our economy as well.

To learn more, contact Benton Waterous at or 360-567-3182.

Julia Maglione is the communications manager at Workforce Southwest Washington. She can be reached at or 360-567-3176.

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